Apollo 18 (Blu-ray / DVD)
Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Apollo 18: The found footage movie that by virtue of being found footage is itself its biggest plot hole.
What we are watching is presented to us as classified NASA footage from our super secret double dog dare final moon landing leaked by the fictitious LunarTruth.com conspiracy website in an effort to broadcast the truth to the world. Given how the movie ends, however, it’s hard not to wonder where they or anyone else got this footage from. I’m not joking when I tell you this could very well be the first motion picture in history whose very existence constitutes a major plot hole.
The only thing even remotely intriguing about this latest foray into found footage cinéma vérité is its look. The filmmakers have gone to great lengths to make the footage look like early 1970’s NASA footage and to recreate the environment of the moon’s lunarscape. Too bad they didn’t go to great lengths to make anything that occurs on the moon even remotely interesting, let alone suspenseful or scary.
Three astronauts are sent to the moon on a top secret mission that even they aren’t completely clear on. Between the multitudes of video cameras inside their capsules, the cameras they set up on the moon’s surface, and the cameras on their person at all times, I do believe the “Big Brother” house in 2011 has fewer surveillance cameras rolling on it than this mission back in 1973.
Kind of hard to say much of anything about Apollo 18 without getting into major spoilers, and that’s mainly due to there being so little going on in Apollo 18 that just about any action post-landing constitutes a spoiler. It is the epitome of everything people hate about found footage movies.
Half the movie plays like you’re watching footage from NASA Channel Classics while the other half owes so much to Paranormal Activity the movie should have been called Extraterrestrial Activity. We have two astronauts on the moon instead of a shacked-up couple in a house in California. One will sort of get possessed by the moon menace and begin do its bidding. There’s even a moment where the sorta-possessed person stands motionless aside the bed of his sleeping companion. Strange little moments designed to be unnerving that are meant to ratchet up tension, paranoia, and claustrophobia before the big reveal. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve already seen half of the jump scares. You’re more likely to yawn rather than jump anyway. When the lame source of their trouble is revealed, you’ll probably wake up just long enough to roll your eyes in disbelief at how Syfy movie stupid the threat is.
With regard to the special features, the commentary with director Gonzalo López-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier is more engaging than the film itself. Just turn it on and go about your business, checking in periodically for a bit of entertainment. The deleted and alternate scenes are pretty much just more of everything we've already seen, and as for the alternate endings, let's just say they were right to keep the ending they chose although, as stated above, it does pretty much turn the entire film into a big gaping plot hole.
If you really want to save yourself 80 minutes of tedium, just fast forward to about an hour into the Dinner for Fiends episode where I spoiled the hell out of Apollo 18. Or you can waste 80 minutes of your life watching something that even chopped down to a half hour probably wouldn’t have made for a particularly good episode of "Tales from the Darkside" (of the moon).
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
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